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Amended lawsuit against U. filed by former dean of architecture alleges dismissed investigations against Prentice, Eisgruber

In response to a press release issued by the University in late May, professor and former dean of architecture Alejandro Zaera-Polo has filedan amended civil action complaint against University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, Dean of Faculty Deborah Prentice, and twenty other anonymous individuals affiliated with the University.

The amended complaint alleges that the May 26 press release was made in violation of the University’s internal confidentiality rules and included misleading disclosures.

The amended complaint raised a number of allegations including the fact that the defendants chose to not disclose evidence favorable to Zaera-Polo to the investigation committee, that the defendants selectively interviewed witnesses adverse to Zaera-Polo, and that Eisgruber’s demand for Zaera-Polo’s resignation was unprecedented.

“These facts, among others, directly contradict Defendant’s improper public assertion that Plaintiff had been found guilty of research misconduct by a ‘fair, unbiased, and rule-complaint procedure,’” the brief said with regards to the May 26th press release.

In the copy of the amended brief obtained by the ‘Prince,’ Zaera-Polo also raised a number of new claims about the breach of conduct on the part of various University administrators. According to the amended brief, the original allegations of plagiarism made against Zaera-Polo were allegedly based on an outdated draft of the architect’s paper. Furthermore, the brief alleges that this outdated draft was obtained through “illicit and improper means,” and that it involved an “unauthorized and secret invasion of Zaera-Polo’s private computer archive for the project.”

The amended complaint also states that Eisgruber had allegedly asked for Zaera-Polo’s resignation before the investigation into the allegations of plagiarism was complete.

“The statements [and allegations] should not have served as the basis for a premature demand that Plaintiff resign, particularly when the committee’s investigation had not yet been completed and Plaintiff had been improperly, publicly, and anonymously accused of plagiarism in flagrant violation of Princeton’s confidentiality rules,” the brief reads.

The brief further stated that many allegations raised during the investigation against Zaera-Polo were allegedly not made known to him, and Zaera-Polo did not have an opportunity to respond to those allegations.

Additionally, the brief notes that subsequent to his resignation, Zaera-Polo attempted on more than one occasion to raise challenges against the “improper conducts” of Eisgruber, Prentice, and other defendants under the University’s current rules and in accordance with the University’s procedures. However, these challenges were summarily dismissed, the brief alleged.

Particularly, the brief claimed that though the grievances filed by Zaera-Polo were entitled to an adjudication by the Committee on Conference and Faculty Appeal, this committee rejected his challenges. According to the brief, Eisgruber himself had allegedly refused to initiate an investigation into Prentice and refused to bring the Board of Trustees into the process.

“Eisgruber, Prentice, and the various committees they influenced and controlled, repeated and summarily rejected Plaintiff’s effort to obtain a full, proper and impartial review of the findings and actions against him,” the brief reads.

The University does not have any comments in light of the amended complaint, according to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day.